‘Observers’ Shocked by Some of the Throws Sam Darnold is Making at Vikings Practice

Sam Darnold at Minnesota Vikings' organized team activities practice No. 8
Photo courtesy of Andy Kenutis via Vikings.com

With mandatory minicamp in the books and voluntary organized team activities coming to a close on Thursday (June 13th), it’s quite clear now that Sam Darnold is likely be the Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback week one against the New York Giants.

Vikings fans may want to see rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy get the nod, but Kevin O’Connell & co have preached patience with his development. And the hype surrounding Darnold is loud, from both the coaching staff and media, on how good the 26-year-old former No. 3 overall pick has looked early on.

Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Sam Darnold has been extremely impressive this offseason

That continued on Wednesday, when Dane Mizutani (Pioneer Press) wrote about Darnold’s performance recently. He recalled one particular corner end zone throw from mandatory minicamp that stood out. It sounds like the type of dime that only starting-caliber quarterbacks make on a regular basis.

“The most impressive part,” Mizutani notes, “the anticipation need to complete the pass”. But apparently, this isn’t anything new to those around TCO Performance Center, who have now been working with Darnold for months. He’s been equally consistent as he has impressive.

The early returns with the Vikings have been palpable as Darnold continues to familiarize himself with the new offense. He has made a number of incredible throws down the field that make observers do a double take. He also has done a good job not missing many layups.”

Dane Mizutani (Pioneer Press)

Related: Sam Darnold Putting in Work While Other Vikings Veterans Rest

Mizutani said that this play made it clear to everyone just how quickly Sam Darnold is learning and understanding O’Connell’s concepts and schemes. He added that there’s “no question” Darnold possesses the arm talent necessary to succeed in this offense.

Sam Darnold’s outlook heading into the Minnesota Vikings’ season

At this stage, Darnold is comfortably in the driver’s seat to start most, if not all, of the games this year. It will be his job to lose. Darnold’s biggest challenge is how he will be able to handle the offense right away against a very tough opening schedule. Something Ben Goessling (Star Tribune – KFAN) eluded to the other day on KFAN.

Well, my question continues to be, how does the QB do? I mean, whether that’s, and I expect it’s Darnold, how does he handle the offense right away? You go on the road, a place where he’s familiar, obviously, MetLife Stadium, but then you get that stretch of tough opponents as you come back home, starting with the 49ers and the home opener… “I think the, how does Darnold handle it? How does he play in that offense is a question.

Ben Goessling (Star Tribune – KFAN)

Darnold is surrounded by a solid offensive core. He’ll be able to throw the ball Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and eventually T.J. Hockenson, who’s coming off a torn ACL and MCL injury. He’s bookended by excellent tackles in Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill, while also having an interior offensive line that should be improved given the competition for starting positions this offseason.

Related: Rumor: J.J. McCarthy is Threatening to Hold Out of Minnesota Vikings Training Camp

Darnold has the skills and talent to succeed under head coach Kevin O’Connell. There’s a reason why he was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft. In the end, it will be about how Darnold handles everything and eliminating turnovers that plagued him with his stints in New York and Carolina.

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